5 Questions You Should Never Ask Employees

Over the years I have had some great experiences working with wide range of people. These different men and women have had very different leadership and communication styles and each has taught me a handful for priceless knowledge.

I have also things I will never do. Here are a few of those things.

1. Am I smoking dope?

I will never ask an employee, “am smoking dope?” For starters, this an awkward drug reference in the workplace. In this case, a place where all employees were drug tested. Second, the real question being asked here is, “do you think I am an idiot?” To which most, especially young employees, will feel awkward saying, “yes, this a stupid idea.”

2. What are you doing on your day off?

Don’t ask your employee what they are up to on their day off. This is fine for a colleague, but not a boss. If the employee offers up about their plans, no problem. But a boss should never ask. This can put the employee in a very awkward position for a number of reasons.

3. Can we split the check?

Going to lunch with your employees is great. Asking to split the bill is not. If you ask your employee to go to lunch, you just accepted to pay. Lunch is often the break in the day that allows an employee to refresh and come back ready for the rest of the day. Don’t ruin it. If you do, at least pay the $10.

4. Who did you vote for?

This seems like a no-brainer. But of course, I have had more than one boss talk with my about their political views. As a general rule, if you wouldn’t bring it up at Thanksgiving Dinner (with the entire extended family), don’t bring it up at work.

5. Did you know I used to have a lot of girlfriends?

Of all the things I do not want to imagine about my boss, his or her romantic life is at the top. This is just one step behind hearing the details about your parents. This rule is amplified 10x when the person is married. Don’t talk about your love life.